Tom Robbins Quotes

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"There are three mental states that interest me", said Amanda, turning to the lizard doorknob. "They are: one, amnesia; two euphoria; three ecstasy."

She reached into the cabinet and removed a small green bottle of water-lily pollen. "Amnesia is not knowing who one is and wanting desperately to find out. Euphoria is not knowing who one is and not caring. Ecstasy is knowing exactly who one is--and still not caring."

The function of the artist is to provide what life does not.

I travel in gardens and bedrooms, basements and attics, around corners, through doorways and windows, along sidewalks, over carpets, down drainpipes, in the sky, with friends, lovers, children and heroes; perceived, remembered, imagined, distorted and clarified.

Real courage is risking something that you have to keep on living with, real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts and suffer change and stretch consciousness. Real courage is risking one's cliches.

Logic only gives a man what he needs. Magic gives a man what he wants.

Nature isn't stable. Life isn't stable. Stability is unnatural. The only stable society is the police state. You can have a free society or a stable society. You can't have both. Take your choice.

Laws are abstractions. Laws symbolize ethical acts, proper behavior toward other human animals. Laws have no moral content, they merely symbolize conduct that does. These symbol junkies are always yelling about how we’ve got to respect the law, but you never hear one of them say anything about respecting fellow beings. If we respected each other, if we respected animals and if we respected the land, then we could dispense with laws and cut the middleman out of morality.

It is content, or rather the consciousness of content, that fills the void. But the mere presence of content is not enough. It is style that gives content the capacity to absorb us, to move us; it is style that makes us care.

Whether a man is a criminal or a public servant is purely a matter of perspective.

Man is not as good as he thinks he is. (Nor as bad, for that matter, but let's not complicate things.) He has certain needs, demands certain services which in reality are probably healthy and natural, but to which in time's passage and as a result of odd quirks in his ethos, he has ascribed (or allowed his religious leaders--often guilt-warped, psychopathic misfits--to ascribe) negative values. In the queerest of paradoxical metamorphoses, honest desires change into taboos.

Somewhere in the archives of crudest instinct is recorded the truth that it is better to be endangered and free than captive and comfortable.

The most important thing in life is style. That is, the style of one's existence--the characteristic mode of one's actions--is basically, ultimately what matters. For if man defines himself by doing, then style is doubly definitive, because style describes the doing.

To live lightly on the earth, lovers and families must be more flexible and relaxed. The ritual of sex releases its magic inside or outside the marital bond. I approach that ritual with as much humility as possible and perform it whenever it seems appropriate.

When she was a small girl, Amanda hid a ticking clock in an old rotten tree trunk. It drove woodpeckers crazy. Ignoring tasty bugs all around them, they just about beat their brains out trying to get at the clock. Years later, Amanda used the woodpecker experiment as a model for understanding capitalism, Communism, Christianity and all other systems that traffic in future rewards rather than in present realities.

The scientist keeps the romantic honest, and the romantic keeps the scientist human.

The history of the Catholic Church is written on charred pages splashed with gore. It is a history of inquisitions and genocides, of purges and perversions, of ravings and razzings. Yes, but through those same bloody pages walk parades of saints playing their celestial radios and sowing their sparkles of love.

When a man confines an animal in a cage, he assumes ownership of that animal. But an animal is an individual; it cannot be owned. When a man tries to own an individual, whether that individual be another man, an animal or even a tree, he suffers the psychic consequences of an unnatural act.

Rule One in the manual of cosmic mechanics: a linear wrench will not turn a spiral bolt.

The fact is, what I hated in the Church was what I hated in society. Namely, authoritarians. Power freaks. Rigid dogmatists. Those greedy, underloved, undersexed twits who want to run everything. While the rest of us are busy living--busy tasting and testing and hugging and kissing and goofing and growing--they are busy taking over.

The principal difference between an adventurer and a suicide is that the adventurer leaves himself a margin of escape (the narrower the margin the greater the adventure), a margin whose width and length may be determined by unknown factors but whose successful navigation is determined by the measure of the adventurer's nerve and wits. It is always exhilarating to live by ones nerves or toward the summit of ones wits.

The quality of a man's life depends upon the rhythmic structure he is able to impose upon the input and output of energy. Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. Einstein understood what Thoreau meant when he spoke of men hearing "different drummers." Thoreau did not say saxophonists or harpsichordists or kazoo players, mind you, but drummers. The drummer deals almost exclusively with rhythm, therefore he is an architect of energy. Art is not eternal. Only energy is eternal. The drum is to infinity what the butterfly is to zero.

It was the greatest of the imperfect ventriloquist acts: when his lips moved, her body sang.

In the garden known as Eden, our mythological sweethearts went too far. Tempted into unnatural positions by the Trickster, they aroused the censors who promptly shut them down. Management threw in a curse to boot, and that primal curse declared that the earth, because of man's funky nature, would thereafter bring forth thorns and thistles.

News: Tom's latest book "Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life" (a memoir of sorts) was released in May 2014.

What follows is an excerpt from the blurb from

Internationally bestselling novelist and American icon Tom Robbins delivers the long awaited tale of his wild life and times, both at home and around the globe.

Tom Robbins’ warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels — including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates — provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to natural born hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads.

In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward,... Read more...